Duduzane Zuma: 'I am a businessman in my own right'

The son of President Jacob Zuma, Duduzane, has defended his involvement in black economic empowerment deals and vowed to give away 70% of his stake in a ArcelorMittal SA (Amsa) deal.

“I am very pleased to announce that I have decided to forgo 70% of my proposed allocation and spread it among other South Africans who are needy and disadvantaged like I once was,” Duduzane Zuma said in a statement.

He said that the Gupta family—his close business allies—had also agreed to give away 70% of their allocation in the Amsa deal.

Zuma said he would set up a broad-based share scheme for disadvantaged South Africans to distribute shares in the controversial deal.

He said that his Mabengela Empowerment Trust was worth over R1-billion. A share would go to widows and widowers, orphans and dependents of police who had died in the line of duty since April 27 1994.

Another share would go to a bursary fund for under-privileged university students.

“The inaugural award will go to the University of Johannesburg. We will particularly target universities in historically disadvantaged areas or universities with a large proportion of students from historically disadvantaged communities,” he said.

A portion would also go towards supporting women in rural communities and pay for the education of orphans.

Duduzane Zuma had been chastised by the Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) after he was named as one of the beneficiaries in Amsa’s black economic empowerment deal worth over R9-billion.

‘I have been in business long before my father was president’
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said: “The open way in which prominent ‘business figures’, linked to top political leaders, deepen perceptions that there is blatantly abuse of power
to concoct illegitimate business deals worth billions of rands.”

Zuma defended his involvement in the deal, saying that it had nothing to do with the fact that his father was the president.

“I would like to point out that I have been in business long before my father was president,” he said.

“I am a businessman in my own right and not because my father is president.”

He said that he had “never done business with government” and that hard work and dedication had helped establish himself in business.

However, Duduzane said his own career had been hindered in the years after his father was dismissed as deputy president by former president Thabo Mbeki.

“My career as a businessman developed deep roots during the years after my father was removed from government.

“My father endured a lot of political persecution and was hauled from one court room to another to face politically instigated charges and allegations.

“This was a very difficult time for my family and I. We were ostracised and treated like lepers,” he said.

He also defended black economic empowerment.

“Black economic empowerment is essential to address the racial inequalities in our economy and in our society,” he said.

He said there could be no sustainable black economic empowerment without the emergence of successful black entrepreneurs who would empower others and create job opportunities. - Sapa

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